Saturday, January 9, 2016

Opening Lines in YA Fiction

Hello! So I decided to write a post about the best opening lines that I’ve read in YA books, though these aren’t necessarily my top ten favorite books. Don’t judge a book by its opening line, kids (I guess). I do really enjoy a majority of these books, though, and I hope this list helps you to find some well-written books to read! :)

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson -- “This is how it all begins.”
    Because what better way to begin  the story than to literally tell the audience that the story is beginning? (P.S. I’m in the midst of reading this right now, but so far it’s pretty good, albeit a little strange. Review coming soon.)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green -- “Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”
    Well, I can’t just not include TFiOS in a post about great lines, now can I? This book is one of the best-written books I’ve ever read (and John Green is awesome, sharpie-covered face and all).

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway -- “Oliver disappeared after school on a Friday afternoon, way back when we were in second grade, and small things seemed really important and important things seemed too small.”
    I think maybe I like this one because the author wastes no time getting to the chase. It’s intriguing because it brings to attention the fact that the main characters, Emmy and Oliver (obviously), went through a really tough time at a very young age.

Switched by Amanda Hocking -- “A couple things made that day stand out more than any other: it was my sixth birthday, and my mother was wielding a knife.”
    This one made the list because it’s an eye-catching line that exposes a moment in the main character’s past that deeply affected her, and this scene actually has a lot of significance in terms of the actual plot of the story.

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards -- “I’m sitting next to the fire alarm, and my best friend is going down in flames.”
    Um, that doesn’t sound very safe. Just pull the alarm, Chloe. (That’s my attempt at being funny.) I liked this one because although it doesn’t immediately jump into a super exciting scene, it does jump straight into the middle of a scene that shows the relationship between Chloe and her best friend. I also just think it’s a really nicely written line.

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson -- “The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.”
    The whole “imminent death” thing immediately caught my attention, and the casual way that the main character, Max, talks about the concept kind of exposes something about her personality and experiences right from the start.
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens -- “Black funeral dress. Black heels. Black headband in my hair. Death has a style all its own. I’m glad I don’t have to wear it very often.”
    So this one is a little sadder than the rest, which makes sense because this is kind of a sad book, to be honest. But, like this line (or these lines, since I kind of cheated on the whole first sentence thing I was trying to go for, not first sentences), the story, although kind of dark, has a noticeable hint of hope in it that, in my opinion, helps to make it even better.
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer -- “I’d always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.”
    Again, I liked this line because it shows something about the main character. Calla is strong and always battle-ready, two of my favorite things about her. I also liked the wording in this sentence--“welcomed,” “passion,” “unbidden.”
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang-- “On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s Laws of Motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.”
    I asked Kalee if I should put these lines in, and she asked me something like, “I don’t know. Does the book have a lot of science in it?” But no, Kalee, it doesn’t. It’s still a great book, though, and I really like Zhang’s writing. It’s poetic and flowing and I just think it’s really pretty (even though the subject matter of these lines and the book as a whole are not).
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter -- “Had anyone told me that my entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, I would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please.”
    These sentences (I cheated yet again with this one, but I just couldn’t help myself) are really, really, really, really great, in my opinion. Although the subject matter is kind of heavy, a hint of the main character’s (and the author’s) humor shines through.

          Alright, that’s it! Feel free to leave a comment or email us--we’d love to hear your thoughts :) :) (Also I want to apologize for not posting in a really, really long time . . . sorry!)
Thanks for reading,
JC <3